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Need help choosing tripod and ball head

d2allen

US
6 posts

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d2allen Registered since 05th Feb 2012
Sat 18-Feb-12 12:29 AM


After many hours of research I've decided on a carbon fiber Gitzo Tripod and Markins Ballhead, but I need help choosing the right sizes. I plan to use this set up for photographing horse events, portraits, and landscapes. My camera is a Nikon D7000. I expect to stay within the 200 mm lens length.

TRIPOD: I find the Gitzo tripod specs to be a bit overwhelming. I'm not clear on the difference between the Mountaineer and the Systematic, other than the center column which can be removed. What difference does it make which tripod you get, so long as the height without using the center column is sufficient? What purpose does the center column serve? I've read that it makes your tripod into a monopod, which isn't good. Is there a special part to put on if you remove the center column? None of this is made clear on the Gitzo website.

I'm only 5' 4" (64") tall, so using the formula on the Tripod Info page on this site, I can subtract 12" and get by with a tripod having a max. ht. of 52". Please correct me if I'm wrong on this! Is it ok to select a tripod that has the max. ht. you need, or would it be better to pick one that is a bit taller and keep the legs retracted for more stability? If all were priced the same, which tripod below would be best for me? There are some weight differences in the following choices, and obviously a lighter tripod will be nicer to carry around...but maybe the heavier one is more stable? Please help me make sense of all this.

The tripods that have a max. ht. of 52" include:
Mountaineer
GT 2531 3 lb 54.3" max. ht.
GT 3531 4.7 lb 52.4" max. ht.
GT 3541 4.4 lb 52.0" max. ht

Systematic
GT3541LS 3.8 lb 57.5" max. ht.

BALL HEAD
The Markins Q10 with lever release is probably the way to go. Yes/no?

PLATE
Regular flat plate - does it matter which brand? I see Markins has their own plate available for the D7000. Is that an ok plate? Is this plate permanently attached to the camera?

L-BRACKET
Is the L-Bracket (used instead of a plate plate) permanently attached to the camera?

Are there any other parts I am missing? I really want to order this stuff and get on with taking some pictures!

Many thanks,

Deidre

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